Well, we’re just over a week away from Wrestlemania, and I’ve really got to work on making Chad and Andy come over for that. It’s Wrestlemania! The grandest stage of them all! The showcase of the immortals! The big going-on! The happiest egg! Everyone should watch Wrestlemania. And why? Well…
This week on WWE programming, Smackdown Live emanated from my backyard of Pittsburgh, but I did not attend. I would like to have, but… Tuesday night. That’s not ideal. I’d have to leave work, drive into the city, stay up super late, work the next day. No, no, no. This is not a plan for me.
Which is a shame because if I HAD made it, I could have been in attendance for Rusev being announced as part of the U.S. Title match coming up at Wrestlemania. What had initially been scheduled as a relatively uninspired Triple Threat match between Bobby Roode, Randy Orton, and Jinder Mahal has morphed into a Fatal Fourway with the addition of the Bulgarian Brute.
Rusev is currently perhaps the most over superstar in all of WWE, and honestly… he’s a damn treat. The guy isn’t magic in the ring or anything, but he’s serviceable; he’s got personality for days, though. It’s a shame he was stuck with an Evil Foreigner Who Doesn’t Talk gimmick for a large stretch of the beginning of his career because since he’s been given leeway to speak, he’s shown to be a gem. The whole “Rusev Day” gimmick is gold, and the fans have attached themselves to it with a great fervor. Even outside of WWE official programming, whether it is his Twitter account (@RusevBUL) or on the UpUpDownDown channel hosted by Xavier Woods where WWE talent sit around and play video games, Rusev is a joy to behold. There is a video of him and AJ Styles playing Madden 18, and, I would watch those two play that game all day if I could. The high-strung competitive nature of AJ and the jovial silliness of Rusev… delightful.
It’s reported that WWE and its higher-ups are not all-in on Rusev despite his huge merchandise sales and the fact that fans chant “Rusev Day” all the damn time. It’s considered by them (again, by reports, so this is all alleged) that the chant itself is over because fans want to feel involved, but Rusev himself isn’t. This is one of those areas where WWE’s love of being hypocritically tone deaf irritates me to no end. Rusev isn’t over because the fans chant “Rusev Day”; that’s just because the fans just like to chant. But when the fans shout “Roman sucks” at Roman Reigns, we’re told that’s proof of how over he is because he draws such a big reaction. It’s a great thing that Vince wasn’t already this 70+ year old version of himself in the 1980’s and late 1990’s; WWE would never have succeeded. “What? The fans are chanting for Austin 3:16? That doesn’t make any damn sense; they just like that catchphrase! It must be this Psycho Sid guy they REALLY want to see! Hurry up and put him in the main event of four straight Wrestlemanias! I mean, look at him! He’s huge!”
Regardless, Rusev was pulled from the anonymity of the Andre The Giant Battle Royal and given an actual match to work with this year. God willing, it will be spared from being on the pre-show, also, but again… with the current iteration of Vince McMahon, it’s hard to tell. It’s certainly what one of the most popular stars on the roster deserves.
Next week: The last stop of the Road to Wrestlemania! So probably predictions or something? Eh, we’ll see.
Until next time, take care!